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Denise La Grassa

With the release of April Dreams, her first CD in nearly 7 years, Denise La Grassa can’t help but look back on her childhood in suburban Chicago. Her infectious laugh bubbles out of her as she remembers the beginning of her songwriting career. “I was 5, maybe 6 years old and I was writing songs like mad. Once I had a fistful ready to go, I would head out and knock on my neighbors doors and sing the songs right there on their doorstep! I was hoping they’d like the songs enough to buy them. I thought if I sold enough songs, I could buy birthday & Christmas presents for my family. I tell you, I was on my way, but once my family phone started ringing with those, ahh, entertained neighbors, my Mom, uh, politely asked me to stop. But I did get a few dollars in my pocket, and more importantly, I got confidence at an early age as a songwriter.”

Her song-selling may have been stopped prematurely, but Denise continued writing. “In third grade, I decided to tackle playwriting. My teacher, Mrs. Collins, read my stories, thought I was pretty good and arranged a meeting with the elementary school principal. She allowed me and my group of third grade thespians the chance to perform a Christmas play for the school. We rehearsed in the library after school, we got parents involved typing _____scripts, finding props and designing costumes. The play was a huge success and I was on my way to fame and fortune. But then, 4th grade blindsided me. My new teacher was, how should I say this, a wee bit underwhelmed by my endless creativity. I did write a few plays and songs, but my grades suffered, and I was “diagnosed” as a hyper-creative child. Back then I was misunderstood. I still wrote songs and plays, but when I was done, I tucked them inside my piano bench. I was really bummed.”

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